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Insufficient Data

DSC_2768_crop.jpgI was helping my son, Simon, with his math tonight when he came to this problem:

"A cookie recipe calls for 2 cups flour for every 1/2 cup chocolate chips. If you wanted to make a triple batch, how many cups of chocolate chips would you use?"

His immediate answer was, "insufficient data."

I started to argue with him, but then I saw why he was absolutely right.

Can you?

I love my rules lawyering son.

I wish I could be there when he confronts his math teacher over this problem tomorrow.


Hmmm....I'm thinking, either they don't tell you for sure that you will use 6 cups of flour (which is a good assumption, because when you triple a batch, you don't triple every ingredient)
OR...they don't tell you what kind of cookie recipe you are tripling...
But really, everyone knows that you just eyeball the amt of chocolate chips you put in. srsly.

So tell me--what did Simon see? I love it that he is thinking for himself.

The problem defines a ratio in the original recipe, but doesn't actually tell you (though it is, of course, implied) what the actual original amounts called for were. A single batch that calls for 200 cups of flour and 50 cups of chocolate chips would satisfy the information given.

Prize to Fuzzy. That was exactly Simon's point.

Once again, I love my geeky kids.

I would just like to argue with the original ratio - what a terrible idea having so few chocolate chips - obviously the math teacher is way too skinny to be teaching about this topic.

There needs to be a lot of chocolate chips, and butter. That's my answer! "A lot".

So what did Simon's teacher say? (Hoping s/he is not one of those hate-to-be-challenged types)

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